ScalesOfWarSandbox

The Trek North

Once again, the party gathers at the Thirsty Zombie. Sardis suggests that the party agree to a contract to make sure that everyone knows what is expected of them as being a member of the group.
All agree and the contract is signed.

Aelar then informs the group of the news of Lorek’s missing nephew. He declares that he is intent on finding the boy and that any and all are welcome to join him. Machu Pichu shares what Keaen told him about the Feast of Souls and the party agrees that since the circle of stones is in the same direction as where Lorek’s wagon was found that both tasks could be accomplished.

Following the information from Lorek, the party heads north along the road to Port Haven and then head into the woods where Lorek indicated. After some searching, the party discovers the wagon much as the halflings described it.

The two halflings that continued the initial search left a trail for their companion and the party was able to find it and follow it towards the mountains in the distance. A long their way, they discovered a wounded halfling laying in the mud.

The halfling’s name was Penny and she was at death’s door. The party bandaged her wounds and tried to encourage her to share as much information about what happened to her as she could. Before falling back into subconscious, Penny told the party that she had found that the kidnappings were caused by a clan of duergar living in the mountains. They were using the slaves to build “a gate”. Penny escaped by killing a guard and stealing a necklace that allowed her to teleport to safety. She then found a passage out of the underground hold through a tunnel dug by giant insects that severely wounded her. Before she could give any more detail, she passed out.

Not wanting to waste a day heading back to town, and not wanting to leave the halfling defenseless in the woods, the party decides to have Jalissa tend to Penny until she is ready to travel back to Brindol. The rest of the party would continue on their journey.

Continuing to travel towards the mountains, Machu Pichu leads the party to a circle of standing stones. The group performs a ritual that inspires another shared dream.

The dreams

Jalissa (Mari)

Carvings of demonic faces with twisted smiles stare at you from the massive door that stands before you. Beyond that door lies the demon lord. A chill runs through you. The journey to get this deep into his stronghold has not been easy. But you’ve done this before. You’ve braved the horrors and destroyed several demon lords. So why is this one different?

That’s easy to answer. It’s because this is Belfagor. The demon that fed off of Caedus, killed Hadrian and fed off the soul of Sonnet. A sudden pang of guilt washes over you, and your hand clasps the soul shard that hangs around your neck. You begin to doubt yourself. You wonder if there was something you could have done to place Sonnet’s soul in the shard like you did with Hadrian’s. You wonder if you were being selfish when you chose his soul over hers.

Aelar’s voice brings you back from your thoughts , “Jalissa?”

“Yes,” you confirm. “This is it. He’s in here.”

You step out of the way and look at your companions, possibly for the last time. Only one of the heroes that rescued you all those months ago has survived, but many others have come to avenge those that died. Aelar and Machu Pichu step past you, each taking hold of one the door’s iron rings. Behind them, knocking an arrow is the wilden ranger, Fiddenmarr, accompanied as always by his bestial companion Sundarr. Thob Fikodbabin, the dwarven runepriest from Redrock and Thatch, an Avenger of the Raven Queen, stands to your left. And finally, Mahel, shifting her grip on Moradin’s Hammer, says a silent prayer.

“Let’s do this,” yells Machu Pichu. Both he and Aelar pull the heavy doors open and head into the demon’s chamber.

Aelar (Corey)

Years ago, when you first accepted a job for the Bronzeknuckle Brothers, you never thought that you would end up defending the world from demon lords. You also never thought you’d find companions, friends that accepted you. Yet here you are, standing outside the Belfagor’s chamber. Sadly, not all of your friends are with you.

Jalissa, the human cleric of Ioun, stands in front of you, carefully inspecting the carvings on a massive stone door. You notice her clutching the small jewel that contains Hadrian’s soul that she wears around her neck. On more than one occasion, you have caught her talking to it as if the paladin could some how hear her. If not for Hadrian’s sacrifice, it’s possibly none of you would be standing here now.

The dwarven runepriest, Thob Fikodbabin, nudges you. When you turn to look at him, he offer’s you a swig from his flask. Ordinarily, the dwarven ale he favors would be too strong for your tastes. But not today. You take a swig and return the flask. It burns as it goes down, but you hardly notice.

You notice that Jalissa seems lost in thought. “Jalissa?” you ask.

“Yes,” she says. “This is it. He’s in here.” She moves out of your way as you and Machu Pichu step forward. Before opening the door, you take a quick glance to make sure the others are ready. Some of them haven’t traveled with you long, but everyone is here for the same purpose. Jalissa, Mahel, Thob and the shifter avenger, Thatch – three holy warriors devoted to the same goal; Fiddenmar, the wilden ranger from the Sacred Grove.

“Let’s do this,” Machu Pichu yells as he pulls open the door.

Thob Fikodbabin (Thomas)

Steadying yourself momentarily, you force a feeling of self-distance out of your mind. It was almost as if you mind thought it was someone else.

You stand before a large iron door. Faces of demons wearing twisted smiles are carved upon the doors surface. While not appealing to your sense of artistry, you grudgingly admit to yourself that the craftsmanship is impressive.

Aelar stands next to you, clutching his sword in his hand and trying to control his breathing. Understandable. Even you are a bit shaken by this place and you have the benefit of being a dwarf. You cannot imagine what the others must be dealing with. You give the half-elf a nudge and offer up your flask. He accepts it with a weak smile, takes a sip, and hands it back.

“May Moradin bless us all,” you whisper, taking a sip for yourself. As you screw the top back on, you eyes examine the symbol of Moradin etched on its side and your gaze shifts to Mahel.

A priestess of Moradin, god of creation. God of miners and smiths. God of the dwarves. It was because of Mahel that you agreed to help. Her faith inspired you to acknowledge your lineage and accept its responsibilities. As the King’s Priest of Moradin, your grandfather recorded the Angel’s Prophecy and pleaded that the King head its warnings. Unfortunately, the King’s greed outweighed his faith and so damned the kingdom into darkness and death at the hands of the demonic horde.

But today you will get your revenge. Today you stand at the entrance to the demon’s inner chamber. Belfagor, the demon that killed Sonnet and ate her soul. Luckily, you are not alone. Next to you stands Fiddenmar, the wilden ranger; Aelar, the half-elf sword mage, Machu Pichu, the goliath barbarian; Jalissa, the cleric of Ioun; Mahel, wielding the artifact, Moradin’s Hammer and Thatch, the shifter avenger of the Raven Queen. Even with these allies at your side, the encounter will be dangerous. By Moradin’s beard, its practically suicidal. But what kind of dwarf would you be if you didn’t try to take down that son of a bitch.

Aelar and Machu Pichu grab the door’s iron rings and pull the door open…

Machu Pichu (Mark)

So. This is it. It’s time to face the demon. It’s time to get your revenge. The spirits have guided you here. They watch over you even now. This is your destiny. Fate Weaver has showed you the many ways that this could end. You liked your chances better when Sardis was still alive.

Even with the recent loss, your chances of killing the demon lord is high. The chances of your survival are unknown. You look at those around you. Next to you stands Aelar, the half-elf sword mage. Jalissa, the cleric of Ioun prays softly to herself and the dwarf runepriest, Thob Fikodbabin, takes a drink from his flask. Mahel, the deva invoker, readies the hammer given to her by her god. Fiddenmarr, the plant-man that Keaen searched for, knocks an arrow to his bow. Thatch, the shifter avenger of the Raven Queen, lurks in the shadows at the rear of the group.

Yes. It is time.

You pull out your heavy axe follow Aelar up to the massive doors.

Beyond the doors, waits the demon lord, Belfagor. Belfagor. Your mind latches onto that name with the strength of a stone giant. Each time you say it, your brows furrow and your blood flows faster. Belfagor. It was him that kidnapped and tortured your sister for years. You can feel the anger building. Belfagor. It was him that possessed Caedus and slaughtered Hadrian deep within Mount Karakas. The anger grows stronger, slowly transforming into rage. Belfagor. It was him that feasted upon the soul within Sonnet.
Rage.

“Let’s do this,” you yell, pulling the heavy door open and charging into the unknown.

Fiddenmar (Robert)

A dizzyness distresses you momentarily. A feeling that you are not yourself. No doubt it is the demon’s attempt to dissuade you from your task.

You are Fiddenmar, the Ranger. You’re a wilden. A plant-like creature from the feywild. You and your animal companion, a mountain lion named Sundar, were charged with protecting the Sacred Grove of the Treant. But then he came. The demon Belfagor.

You are fortunate that you were warned by Keaen. He was given a vision by the elder spirits that live in all things. However, even with this warning, the demon’s attack was devastating. You fought beside the ancients as best you could. You had prepared for this event. The demon’s forces outmatched you, it was obvious. The treants told you to flee. To save yourself. But you stayed. The shrine to the World Tree must not fall. In the end, the shrine remained. But to call it a victory would be a horrendous sin. The Sacred Grove is little more than charcoal. Only a single tree still stands.

Feeling guilty, helpless and violated, you did nothing but sit where the grove once stood. You did not eat, or drink. Days past.

It was fortunate for you that Machu Pichu and his friends found you. They had been tracking the demon. It had killed two of their friends. A paladin of Pelor. And the misguided tiefling that served as the demon’s host. And eventually, more fell before the demon. Mahel. Sonnet. And just recently, Sardis.

But, Melora willing, that ends today. You stand before a massive iron door, carved with twisted images of demons. Beyond that door lies Belfagor’s inner chamber and your chance for redemption.

Machu Pichu and Aelar stand one either side of the massive doors. Jalissa, the cleric of Ioun prays softly to herself and the dwarf runepriest, Thob Fikodbabin, takes a drink from his flask. Mahel, the deva invoker, readies the hammer given to her by her god. Thatch, the shifter avenger of the Raven Queen, lurks in the shadows at the rear of the group.

It is time. Sundar lets out a growl and you knock an arrow to your bow.

“Let’s do this,” Machu Pichu yells as he pulls open the door.

Mahel (Lauren)

In the teachings of Moradin, it is written, “A single stone can start an avalanche.” Months have passed since first arriving in Brindol and protecting that tavern from the hobgoblin attack. And now, you stand before the inner chamber of a demon lord, wielding the hammer that is said to be the one Moradin used to forge the world.

It has been a rough journey. Not all of your friends survived. Caedus, Hadrian, Sonnet, and just recently Sardis. You look down at the small dog statue that you hold in your hands. Carved from black onyx, it is all that you were able to recover from your fallen friend. But somehow, despite the losses, you always managed to inspire others to join your cause. Jalissa, the cleric of Ioun. Aelar, the half-elven sword mage. Machu Pichu, the goliath barbarian. Fiddenmar, the wilden ranger. Thob Fikodbabin, the dwarven warrior. Thatch, the shifter avenger of the Raven Queen.

You think of another passage from the teachings of Moradin. “A finely crafted blade will never meet as many blows on the battlefield as it did on the anvil.” You are Moradin’s blade. He has forged you in the fire. Has beaten you with his hammer. And although some may find it cruel, you know that because of Moradin’s actions, you have become his weapon. Strong. Unwavering. Blessed.
Today is the day. Today it ends. The suffering, the torment. Today, right now, you stand before the demon Belfagor. The demon that crept into your life. That made a bargain with a young, frightened Caedus. That used him as a vessel for obtaining souls. Manipulated him towards evil. That orchestrated a series of events that has so far costs the lives of thousands of innocent lives.

You stow the small dog statue and draw forth Moradin’s Hammer. You catch Thob’s eye and nod, touching your holy symbol as you do. He smiles weakly and both of you turn your attention to Machu Pichu.

“Let’s do this,” Machu Pichu yells as he pulls open the door.

Thatch (Matt)

Your stomach lurches and your mind spins. For a brief moment, you feel apart from your body. A distance like you were not yourself. It stops as abruptly as it began.

Standing next to you are your allies. They have made your quest their own and that quest shall soon be fulfilled. Your pursuit is almost at its end. When it does, you pray that you will find peace.

In front of you, stands a large stone door, engraved with twisted faces of demons. Beyond that door, waits the inner chamber of the demon lord, Belfagor. The abysmal being has disgraced the Raven Queen by killing the angel, Enerot. It was only by consuming the angel’s soul that Belfagor survived the first encounter with the Raven Queen’s forces. This time he will not be as fortunate.

Machu Pichu and Aelar stand one either side of the massive doors. Jalissa, the cleric of Ioun prays softly to herself and the dwarf runepriest, Thob Fikodbabin, takes a drink from his flask. Mahel, the deva invoker, readies the hammer given to her by her god. Fiddenmar, the wilden ranger, knocks an arrow to his bow. His animal companion looks towards you and growls with anticipation. You growl in response as you shift into your more bestial form.

“Let’s do this,” Machu Pichu yells as he pulls open the door.


The party then rushes into Belfagor’s inner chamber. The demon lord mocks their struggle and declares that they will lose this confrontation. Just as combat is about to erupt, the heroes wake from the dream.
-——————
After the dreams the party questions Caedus about what they had just seen. Caedus is at first reluctant to say anything, but eventually gives a vague description of events. He says that in order to save those that he cared about, he unknowingly made a pact with a demonic force. Since then, he has committed some terrible acts, but is looking for a way to put things right and break the pact. He also revealed that he believes that if he dies, the demon will possess his body and come into this world and wreak havoc.

The party continues on their way and after some searching find the entrance to the ankheg tunnels. Upon entering, they find themselves in a series of twisting tunnels and passages. The terrain is difficult and present a few challenges, but the party continues onward.

Notes

This session didn’t have any combat in it. It had several skill challenges and a big role playing element during the dream sequence.

Although the other had already had a similar dream, this is also the first time that Mark or Corey had really heard of Belfagor. If you compare this dream with the one before, many things are different. Not only who is alive and dead in the dream, but several of the characters in the first dream are presented to new players in the second dream. These dreams also contain a number of clues to the upcoming adventures.

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